Monday, August 1, 2011

Social Animal Vitamin D3: How Much of an Excess Would Increase Calcium in Blood Leading to Kidney Damage

Tags: Vitamin D Excess on Health Social Animal Effect of Culture on Socialization and Brain

Vitamin D: You can get too much of a good thing

Even Dr. Roizen, an anesthesiologist and Dr. Oz, a by-pass surgeon, who have to spend most of their time reading about their specialty, they have to heavily rely on search engines on medical websites to get their information. The official information is largely quite good, but tends to follow previous conclusions reached many years ago. The Institute for Medicine, a part of the prestigious NIH or National Institute of Health, is heavily staff by professionals who in part or all have conflicts of interest.

For example one at the Institute does research with Big Pharma on drugs to regain bone strength.

On the other side is Dr. Mercola who is now so off the wall that I stopped his e-mails. However, lots of it is useful as Dr. Oz who reads his blogs, but he has the same concern about some of stuff that Mercola writes about such as not using vaccines. If you google vaccines, most of the stuff you will see in the first pages would be anti-vaccine diatribes. I read all points of view and use my evidence based scientific thinking approach to determine the validity of their arguments.

Because all humans have differences in metabolism, bacteria in the colon, ability to metabolize drugs and herbs, there is always a wide variety of reactions by people. So a relatively small trial often use to determine drug toxicity are largely not that good. So I follow website. Based on studies, unless there is no alternative to a serious illness, do not take any drugs with less than seven or 7 years of other guinea pig humans testing the drug for you.

No safety studies are on Herbs and some of the most popular have been found to be toxic including the one used often to reduce the symptoms of flu and colds. I often tell my friends that you have to do a double blind study on yourself in a way you cannot tell what the pill is. Put a small amount peanut butter or something else to mask any taste.

Unfortunately with marketing of drugs with many experts beholding to Big Pharma or other large economic interests, it is hard to for all of us to determine how much truth or lies is being told to you. Our society has also changed a lot since the 1980s.

The Social Animal: USA: Effect of Northern and Southern Cultures on How we think and act.

David Brooks made one surprising comment in his book The Social Animal. (Buy the Book because you will be referring to it manytimes. ) He said "Americans are a collective society who believe they are independent, but group think just like everyone else in their social and political group." If you are either a conservative Republican or liberal Democrat, you can be excused for thinking that the other party is from Venus or Mars respectively.

Here is a quote from his chapter on Culture. "If you bump into a man on the street in the American North, the testosterone level in his bloodstream will not rise appreciably. But if you bump into a man in the American South, where a culture of honor is more prevalent, there will probably be a sharp spike in cortisol and testosterone production. Cities in the South are twice as likely to have words like "gun" in their names (Gun Point, Florida), whereas cities in the North are more than twice as likely to have words like "joy" in their names. ...

Furthermore, in the age of globalization, cultures are not converging. They seem to be growing farther apart."...

Brooks goes on further to discuss the role of trust in our society. We have seen this in spades in the current debt ceiling debate where trust is absent. Now only a live together partner, if that, is the only one we trust enough to be vulnerable and discuss things with their partner that they discuss with no one else. Close friends are rapidly disappearing in our winner take all corporate society. Here is a quote from his Culture Chapter.

"Most relationships are bound by trust. Trust is a habitual reciprocity that becomes coated by emotion. It grows when two people begin volleys of communication and cooperation and slowly learn they can rely upon each other. Soon members of a trusting relationship become willing to not only cooperate with each other but sacrifice for each other. ... People in trusting cultures find it easier to organize and operate large corporations. Trust creates wealth."

Shows why the conservative South has much more adultery, out-of-wedlock births, and divorces than the rest of the country, and especially the Northeast. What worries me about Los Angeles now is that it has students who speak over one hundred different languages at home. Immigrants almost always try to live in the same community if possible to get over the language and culturL barriers. Even various countries in Central and South America have different cultures, but Catholicism seems to unite them more as they have started to divorce themselves from the USA.

A great documentary film at called South of the Border by Oliver Stone (2009) describes how South American countries are working together to be less dependent on the USA which has exploited free trade to corrupt their governments. President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and President "Lulu" of Brazil and other countries have changed their dependence on the USA. Brazil, for example, trades more with China than the USA. Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay have a mutual trade agreement.

Netflix viewers reviews both positive and negative: Here is one that is positive. I gave it four stars. Jim

In the film we see democratically elected leaders like Chavez, Morales, and Lula who, for the first time in their countries' history, "look like the people." They are opposed, often violently, by reactionary elements who want to "take back their country." This got me thinking about the USA. We also have a democratically elected president who "looks like the people" and the same thing is happening here. I think it was former President Kirchner of Argentina (who died the same day this film came out on DVD) who made the startling assertion (who knows if it's true or not) that President G.W. Bush confided to him that the best way to improve his country's economy was to go to war. Bush should know, having started two wars. Cynics say we did it for oil. But Kirchner's remark makes you think about the trillions of dollars that have been transferred to the private sector by these wars. (He had regulations that made it impossible for corporations to make the highest profits here so 50,000 factories closed down and 5 million workers were laid off.

Why did Bush get reelected? Most Americans get their sparse information from television ads during the election campaigns. The so-called Independents are the most ignorant politically than Democrats or Republicans. So lies from politicians and television corporate news works very well.

Noam Chomsky who is cited more often except the Bible, the most cited publication, than any other writer, knows how politics works. Google Noam Chomsky. He said that when the Republicans screw up badly in running the country as they invariably do except for Eisenhower and Lincoln, support a Democrat who has conservative credentials is relatively ignorant about how Washington, D.C. works. Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton are other examples.

That is why the corporate press/media worked against Gore after a successful Clinton administration, but supported the inexperienced and Harvard and Chicago trained more reliably conservative candidate, Barack Obama rather than Hillary Clinton. Why did Clinton lose congress and the Senate? He raised the Social Security Tax in 1993. He was often praised in the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal, something that almost never happens to Democratic Presidents. Only when he vetoed the Bank bill, on the advice of Hillary Clinton, wealth and power sent him a message. They impeached him in the House, and the New York Times helped greatly! Only Keith Olbermann at MSNBC at that time refused to talk about the sex scandal and quit.

Bill Clinton then meekly signed two devastating Banking bills that started the rush to big profits for the banks and the crash on Wall Street. In 2007, Banking and insurance contributed to 8 percent of GDP. Now it is 63 percent and the GDP grew from the 9 Trillion GDP to a 15 Trillion one in a much weaker non-financial economy. When retail accounts for 70 percent of our economy, bad times will be around for years if not a decade. We have used up our massive money printing trick and the rich bond holders are really scared including China which holds about 25 percent of our government Treasury Bonds.

I was shocked that so many highly educated smart people were fooled. Propaganda works extremely well as we saw in the 1930s in Germany and the buying and debt spree of Americans. Yes, advertisements are propaganda. Sure Obama talked liberal, but he acted like a conservative Democrat or more like Carter and Bill Clinton. Hillary Clinton talks conservative, but in her heart she has true liberal principles.

Obama's hands-off work was largely was in fund raising for the churches and he rarely interacted with the poor. Lower Middle-class and poor Blacks in Chicago did not like Obama until the so-called scandal in his church when the reverend made anti-White remarks.

When Hillary got her law degree at Yale, she had many opportunities because of her reputation as an outstanding lawyer in the Watergate prosecution. She then went to work in North Carolina directly helping the poor and even stopped Reagan from implementing draconian laws against the young and poor.

Americans really missed up when she was not nominated and elected President. She would have done a much better job uniting the country. She is a proven leader since here elementary school through the rest of her life. She is more popular than Obama now which includes many Republicans.

Jim Kawakami, August 01, 2011,

Vitamin D: You can get too much of a good thing

Appeared in print: Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, page D1

Since you’re reading this column, we bet you’re aware that the news about vitamin D-3 — the superhero of nutrients, able to bolster bones and battle everything from heart disease to cancer — just keeps getting better.

But glowing reports aren’t the whole story. And like repeat rides on the Tilt-a-Whirl at the county fair, more isn’t always better. In fact, too much D may be dangerous.

Haven’t heard much about overdoing D? You’re not alone. In the upbeat mania, that’s getting overlooked. While D’s too crucial to run low on (and many people are low), it takes some finessing to get the best results.

This update’s for you if:

You don’t take any D.

You take more than 1,000 to 2,000 IU daily on your own.

You’re considering the megadoses (as much as 100,000 IU a week) touted on the Internet.

You’re about to plunk down cash for a D blood test that’s not from a doc (the tests can be flukey, so get them from a reliable, consistent source).

So it’s time to get this right. First, we You Docs believe it’s vital for you to get enough vitamin D-3 (more about D-3 ahead). If you’re chronically short, your risk goes up for a passel of nastiness: several cancers (including breast, colon and ovarian), heart disease, osteoporosis, asthma, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and high blood pressure.

New studies also are turning up links between low D and obesity in kids, digestive diseases, pneumonia, anemia and injuries among pro football players.

On the upside, researchers recently have found that having healthy amounts of D-3 relaxes your blood vessels, helps bone-building drugs work better, makes weight loss faster and easier, and even transforms slow sperm into speedy swimmers (think dog paddlers versus Michael Phelps).

That’s cool. But popping lots of D isn’t your next move. Like we said, while enough is great, too much ain’t. Taking more than 10,000 IU per day, for example, might make you absorb too much D and too much calcium, causing kidney damage.

Dialysis anyone? We thought not.

And while enough D helps bones, older women who took gigantic 550,000 IU doses every fall or winter for three to five years in one study had more fractures and more falls than those who got no extra D. Same goes for blood vessels: Too much not only nixes benefits, it stiffens your arteries.

Why can excess D double-cross you? Big doses seem to steal calcium from your bones and spew it into your bloodstream, interfering with muscle function and putting your arteries and kidneys in peril.

By now we bet you’re saying, “OK, docs, what’s too little, what’s too much, what’s just right?” Coming up.

Aim for 1,000 IU of vitamin D-3 per day. Total. Include what’s in your multi, your calcium-D-3-magnesium tablet, your D-fortified milk or other fortified foods. Yes, we’ve seen the Internet buzz about taking super-high doses on your own.

Don’t do it.

The Institute of Medicine says that more than 4,000 IU per day can be harmful; we say don’t go over 2,000 IU without talking with your doc. Superpills packing 10,000 IU should be taken only under medical supervision, usually by those who don’t absorb it well or need a special regimen.

Take D-3, not plain D. It’s the most active form of the vitamin and the type your skin makes naturally when it’s exposed to sunlight for 15 minutes or so.

Get a blood test for D if: you’re dark-skinned; you’re elderly; you always wear sunscreen and a hat outdoors (smart moves otherwise); you’re obese (D stored in fat is less bio-available); you have trouble digesting fats; or you live north of Atlanta — during winter, the sun’s rays above there simply aren’t strong enough for you to create enough D.

What’s low? We consider D low when it’s below 50 ng/mL. While there’s little consensus on what’s definitively healthy or too high, there’s evidence that D’s dark side starts appearing above 80. Levels more than 500 are toxic. Remember that D blood tests (about $35 to $40 from your doctor) can give inconsistent results; recheck ultra-low or -high results.

Bottom line: Aim to hold your D levels steady between 30 and 80 ng/mL. Get tested every six months for 18 months and take the D-3 needed to get and keep you in that range (usually 1,000 IU a day; often 2,000).

If you can’t get regular tests, take 1,000 IU a day. Your “real age” will be younger, and your whole body will run better.

The YOU Docs — Mike Roizen and Mehmet Oz — are authors of “YOU: On a Diet.” Want more? See “The Dr. Oz Show” weekdays on KEZI. To submit questions and find ways to grow younger and healthier, go to, the docs’ online home.

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